La. Supt. John White Fabricates Three Years of Teaching into Five: View His Ed Leader Cert Application
On April 11, 2017, I wrote a post about Louisiana state superintendent John White’s certifying himself as an educational leader.
Louisiana has three levels of ed leader certification. Ed Leader 1 requires no teaching experience. Ed Leader 2 requires three years of teaching experience in the applicant’s area of certification.
And Ed Leader 3 requires five years of teaching experience in the applicant’s area of certification.
Louisiana Board of Elementary and Secondary Education (BESE) member James Garvey signed off on all three of White’s ed leader certifications.
White does not have the five years of teaching experience in his area of certification.
White has three years of teaching experience.
In my first post, I relied on a 2011 interview that White gave for EdNext to support his having only three years of teaching experience.
Fortunately, in this post, I am able to provide support from White’s application for Louisiana ed leader certification. (My thanks to my colleague Lee Barrios for her public records request of this info.)
According to Louisiana law (Bulletin 746), the following criteria must be met in order for a person to be granted ed leader 3 status, a certification that allows the possessor to become a district superintendent or assistant superintendent in Louisiana:
§ 708. Educational Leader Certificate Level 3 (EDL 3) [Formerly §709]
A. This certificate is required in order to serve as a school system superintendent or assistant superintendent.
- Eligibility requirements:
a. valid EDL 2 or one of the Louisiana administrative/supervisory certifications that preceded the educational leadership certification structure;
b. five years of teaching experience in his/her area of certification;
c. five years of successful administrative or management experience in education at the level of assistant principal or above. The assistant principal experience would be limited to a maximum of two years of experience in that position; and
d. passing score on the school superintendent assessment (SSA), in keeping with state requirements.
Note that the five years of teaching experience is just that– teaching experience– and that it is to be in the applicant’s area of certification.
Included with White’s application is the following letter from the Jersey City Public Schools:
December 10, 2015
To Whom It May Concern:
Please be advised that Mr. John White was employed with the Jersey City School District as a certified English Teacher from September 1, 1999 to June 30, 2002.
Please feel free to contact me for any further information at (201) 915-6362.
Tracey A. Stone
To support the idea that White’s three years with Jersey City Schools were in White’s area of certification, his application also includes the following January 26, 2016, email from director of the New Jersey Department of Education Robert Higgins to Vicky Thomas at LDOE:
Mr. John C. White, DOB: XXXXXX and SSN: XXX-XX-XXXX received his NJ Standard (Permanent) Certificate as a Teacher of English in September, 2000 after completing his pedagogical work at the St. Peter’s College Regional Training Center in Kearney, NJ. His provisional (induction) period was served prior to that date in the Jersey City School district, where he also taught when he received the Standard.
Note that we only date our certificates to the month and year, not to the day.
Of course, if one wanted to be technical, White only has two years of teaching experience in his area of certification because for 1999-2000, he appears to not be considered as certified by the New Jersey Department of Education. But let’s just let that go and five him the full three years of teaching experience in his area of certification: English.
English in New Jersey.
White was certified to teach English in New Jersey, and he did so for three years. Not five. Three.
As part of his Louisiana ed leader application, White offers no additional evidence of either teaching experience or of certification, either in New Jersey or any other state.
But that does not mean he didn’t try to fabricate an additional two years.
Here is how White tried to falsify five years of teaching experience:
First of all, he listed his three years in New Jersey (1999-2002) at William L. Dickson High School in Jersey City, NJ. The application has a box to check to identify the school as either “public school” or “private school.” White checked “public school.”
Next, he laid low and recorded his time in New Jersey with Teach for America (TFA) as “teacher coach and mentor.” Under “name of school,” he listed “Teach for America,” but he (rightly) did not check a box for either “public school” or “private school.” He also did not identify himself as a TFA executive director. And where he wrote the date, it looks like he began to write “2002-2004” and changed his mind and wrote “2002-2007.”
But there is one more line, and that one should have read, “Chicago, Illinois, TFA executive director.”
Instead, White wrote “Chicago Public Schools” under “name of school,” checked the “public school” box (which gives the shady impression that he taught public school in Chicago) and listed his position as “teacher coach and mentor” from 2004-2006.
It is a lame effort to try to fake two more years of teaching experience, but it was apparently the best lie White had at hand.
A number of problems with this lie:
- White holds no Illinois teaching certificate.
- White was never an employee of Chicago Public Schools (CPS).
- White never taught in a Chicago public school.
- White holds no certification as a “teacher mentor.”
- “Teacher mentor” does not constitute teaching experience.
- White includes with this application a letter dated December 09, 2015, verifying that from 2002 to 2007, he was employed by TFA as “Executive Director of our Chicago Region” at an annual salary of $126,499.92. So, any “teacher mentoring” in Chicago was in his role as TFA employee, not as a CPS employee.
On the same page as the above info, no one signed the oath verifying the accuracy of White’s info. The signature is supposed to be that of superintendent or human resources director.
White did sign below it as the applicant.
Despite the flimsiness of this I-kind-of-taught-in-Chicago lie, on June 08, 2016, LDOE certification specialist Regina Poole signed off on the ed leader 3 “Requirements” checklist, which includes “yes” for “have five years of teaching experience in his/her area of certification.”
And BESE member James Garvey approved White’s falsified ed leader 3 certification.